Why did you want to shoot Levon Helms

Dirt Farmer as your album cover?

Well he died last week and was one of the

greatest musicians of our time. Wanted to put

a big thank you to Levon. Levon was the singer

and drummer of ‘The Band’ and sang from deep inside.

You don’t live the life of an average joe, workin out at

sea on sailboats all year long, do you ever miss life on

the land or would you be content to sail away the rest

of your days?

It makes me content at the moment that’s all i know. I often

used to be plagued with anxiety and I’m not at the moment.

Spending my life around the ocean, outside, with friends and

progressing is what is important. I plan to spend the most

part of my life on a boat, whether it be in the Pacific, the

Shannon River or Venice. Sailing gives you the opportunity

to always move your home. I have a romantic vision of being

a old man that is the captain of a small 10 person ferry that

runs twice a day and serves fine Italian coffee, and for the

rest of the day hang with my wife surfing not getting my hair


I know you’ve got pretty solid ideals about being able

to travel by the wind and cost the planet nothing.

What’s your take on the whole swell and comp chase in

jet planes and fast cars vibe in surfing?

100% each to their own. The progressing of comp and swell

surfing amp’s the fuck out of me at times. Sure things upset

me but that’s it they upset ME and I have had more than

my fair share of all of the fast cars etc. I just want to get to

a point where I am costing the world as close to nothing

as possible. I have a Mac and iPhone but still feel close to

nature, like a hippy. I like to sail at max 8 knots. Last week

we were in the Banda Sea in Indonesia we witnessed the

sunset with a humpback whale and pod of dolphins. These

magical experiences are not uncommon at sea so it would

be impossible not to live a certain way. The guys that are

doing the chasing are just doing what they need to do to feel

content and that’s great, I do feel that we could think about

the impact of it all a little. The ideals of being a pure surfer

and a pro surfer are a massive contradiction. I am a massive

contradiction but I do as much as I can.

Your a solid vegetarian but you are down with

catching, killing and eating fish for your dinner at sea

from time to time, do you think we’ve lost touch with

the basic natural law that says if you want to eat an

animal you should be able to kill it?

I’m an idealist not a realist. I think that things could be ideal

but think that realistically they wont be. I am a veggie and

wanna be a vegan but I share life aboard a boat with other

people and that would unfair. I don’t eat meat or fish because

I totally disagree with the meat and fish industries and will

not support them. We are living at a time when we know a

huge amount about the impact of the actions we take but

globally do nothing.

I guess all this time alone at sea lends itself toward

thinkin heavily over alot of things, is it all positive like

the vegetarianism and the planetary vibes, or does it

sometimes send a man clawin for some loose release?

Haha for sure, I’m a hot blooded male too, there is always

something that makes me wanna lose control. I crave that

feeling and getting wild can help. I had a gnarly one a few

years ago when I had a hard heart and went to sea, that trip

was dark and lonely enough at times but being out at sea

with all its beauty has never yet had a negative effect, and

I’m young and have no regrets. 

Interview & Photos by Mickey Smith

In a maritime tradition dating back to St Brendan crossing the Atlantic in a canoe in the 6th century, Ireland's Matt Smith prefers floating on the sea surface for the salvation of his soul.